The next port on our Lead Like a PIRATE journey is Immersion.
Teacher Immersion takes place when teachers jump in the water with their students and become fellow learners. Coaching, scaffolding, and leaving the desk behind.
What would an immersed leader look like?
I have spent the last two years learning what a leader is “supposed to do” and the better part of 3 months picking the brains of some of the most amazing connected leaders around and it seems so simple, yet challenging in practice.
A fully immersed leader is out in the classrooms, shared spaces, and around their school. They are engaging staff and students and not only challenging them to improve, but supporting, coaching, scaffolding and aiding in that improvement.
Not only should a leader be out in the classrooms, but their presence should be welcomed.
This is challenging for leaders given the state if most school structured teacher observation systems. By being out frequently and doing so in a way that seeks to be helpful and not punative. When the culture starts to shift toward teachers seeing their school leaders for more than just meetings and observations, to one where the “lead learner” is present and a visable part of your school, then a leader is immersed in their school.
I always remember what I was told during my first year as an instructional aide. The teacher said, “I am not giving you a desk because I don’t want you to sit at it.” She was a great teacher from whom I learned a lot!
I want to emulate that as an immersed leader. If and when I get an office, I would prefer a small table and plently of organizing space. The desk would just keep me separated like a lifegaurd stand above the water!
Don’t sit above your staff and watch, jump in and swim with them, pushing those in the front and motivating those at the rear so that your immersed in your school!